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Pasta with chestnuts, pancetta, and sage

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The Runaway Spoon

(Read caption) Torcetti pasta with chestnuts, pancetta, and sage in a creamy sauce.

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This recipe was born from my love for chestnuts, and my overzealous purchase of them before Thanksgiving. I include chestnuts in my dressing, and when I see them on the shelves, I go a little nuts and always buy more than I need. So after that holiday madness dies down, I find ways to use them in other recipes. And by that point I have heard “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” on the radio at least once.

This dish doesn’t take long to prepare, but makes an elegant, unique meal break during this crazy season. Time to take breath and enjoy time together.

Chestnuts are nutty and slightly sweet and pair beautifully with woodsy sage and salty pancetta. I readily find packages of pre-diced pancetta at markets, but if you don’t, go to the deli counter and ask them to give you a couple of thick slices and dice those into bits.  Thin sliced pancetta does not work as well.  

I used a short, twisted pasta labeled “torcetti," but any short, thick pasta will work, like fusilli or casarecce. Orecchiette would work as well.  The chunks of pancetta and chestnut get lost in long pastas.  And I will admit, this is enough pasta to serve 4 people with a salad and some nice bread, but for big eaters, it may only serve 2!

Pasta with Chestnuts, Pancetta and Sage

Serves 4 (or two if you are really hungry)

10 ounces dried pasta

4 ounces diced pancetta

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus several large leaves

4 ounces roasted chestnuts, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup white wine [editor's note: may substitute cooking wine]

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